The Baylor Red Raiders made a clean sweep of the Scenic City Classic this weekend and they won Saturday afternoon's game against Cleveland with a combined no-hitter.
Hunter Holland was the starter for Baylor, but was replaced by Hunter Mercer with one out in the third following Holland's fourth walk of the game.
Mercer then retired the next 11 Blue Raiders he faced and he was credited with the win after his teammates rallied for an 8-2 victory at Baylor's Wyatt McMahan Field.
Baylor is now 4-0 for the season following tournament wins over Mt. Juliet, Coahulla Creek, White County and Cleveland. Cleveland is now 2-4 after a 1-3 weekend as the Blue Raiders lost to Northwest Whitfield on Thursday before beating Boyd-Buchanan on Friday before losing two to Station Camp and Baylor on Saturday.
Cleveland scored a pair of runs in the first inning without a hit. Koltyn Plumb and Taylor Thompson both reached with one-out walks and both moved up a base following a Mercer wild pitch. Plumb scored on an infield error while Thompson raced home on a delayed double steal.
Baylor bounced back with an unearned run in its half of the first to make it 2-1.
Holland then had a 1-2-3 second inning and got the first out of the third before issuing two more walks, leading to a change where Mercer came in to pitch and Holland went to short. Mercer finished the day with five strikeouts, no walks and no hits in 3.2 innings to earn the victory.
The Baylor junior ended that threat with a strikeout and a comebacker before retiring the Blue Raiders in order for the next three innings.
Meahwhile, the Baylor bats came to life in the fourth when the Red Raiders batted around and scored four runs.
Designated hitter Alfy Basila, who had three hits for the day including a pair of doubles, led off with a single and went to second on a single by Bryceson Mercer. Bryson Crimmins then reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Crimmins was obviously trying to sacrifice to get his teammates in scoring position, but was safe when no Cleveland player covered first.
Alex Armstrong gave Baylor the lead with a two-run double to the fence in left-center. Blake Layne reached on a fielder's choice to reload the bases before Andrew Belcer got an RBI the easy way with a walk. Sterling Stewart's two-out single drove in Armstrong with the final run of the inning.
Crimmins had an RBI-single in the fifth while the Red Raiders added two more in the sixth, the first on an RBI-single from Holland and then run-scoring double from Basila.
The game had reached the two-hour time limit, so Cleveland didn't get to bat in the seventh.
"I'm really proud of Hunter Mercer as he came in and did an outstanding job in relief," said Baylor coach Gene Etter.
"Hunter was a little shaky at the start and that's why we pulled him, but overall I'm pleased. We were able to come from behind again and that's the third time in four games we've done that this weekend. I think that's a good sign to be able to come back like that," the veteran coach added
Cleveland coach Ted Carson felt like Friday's late game and a really early start on Saturday had a negative effect on his team.
"I think we got tired about being out so late on Friday, but that's no excuse. We just lost focus and made some mental mistakes. And we didn't get a hit? I can't remember the last time that happened," Carson nodded.
Baylor finished the day with eight runs on 11 hits and the one error.
Basila had three hits to lead the Red Raider offense while Crimmins had a couple of singles.
Taylor Maxey, Stewart, Holland, Bryceson Mercer, Armstrong and Belcher all had one hit apiece.
Cleveland, now 2-4, returns to action on Monday with a big game at home against rival Bradley while 4-0 Baylor will host Boyd-Buchanan on Tuesday.
CLEVELAND 200 000 -- 2 0 3
BAYLOR 100 412 -- 8 11 1
Joseph Martin, Jonathan Martin (6) and Oliver; Holland, Mercer and Layne.
(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)